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Straight Talk: Child care programs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – In this latest Straight Talk, I will address child care at the Child Development Center and options when care is not available.

Q We have been on the Child Development Center wait list for a long time. Is it possible to review the current priority placement policy for active duty members to expand child care services?

A Thank you for your question and sharing your concern. The 66th Force Support Squadron is continually in search of ways to care for the highest number of children possible. In accordance with Air Force Instruction 34-144, Child and Youth Programs, as an active duty member, you do have a higher priority within the Child Development Center than government civilians, depending on your family’s makeup. This priority list is standard throughout the Air Force. To ensure proper placement, make sure you have correctly identified your family type and priority via the Air Force’s standardized childcare management system, MilitaryChildCare.com, or speak with someone at the CDC.

Waiting list times throughout the Air Force vary by location and age groups. The number one factor here is not space, but staffing. We currently have open spaces in classrooms because we do not have the qualified staff to meet the required child-to-adult ratio. We continue to recruit caregivers through all available means and anticipate filling those spaces in the future. In the meantime, let me pass along some other valuable resources that may help.

Family Child Care
Family Child Care is an alternative to center-based care. FCC offers in-home child care by certified providers for children ages 2 weeks to 12 years in on-base housing and civilian communities. Providers are screened and licensed prior to opening and are monitored for compliance. FCC providers can offer flexible schedules for parents and fee subsidy may be available. For more information, contact the Family Child Care office at 781-225-6121.

Off-base resources and available subsidy
Child Care Aware of America collaborates with the Defense Department to serve and support military families through the Child Care Fee Assistance Programs. Visit www.usa.childcareaware.org, click on Fee Assistance, then military families.

Enhanced referral
If additional assistance in locating nationally accredited care in a specific area is required, a qualifying military sponsor may receive an enhanced referral from a member of Child Care Aware by calling 1-800-424-2246.

During the referral process, a specialist will conduct a customized child care search within five business days. This network currently hosts nearly 3,500 pre-approved providers. The call with the enhanced referral specialist will link families to providers and include consumer education, eligibility screening and information about available child care subsidy.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with child care needs, contact the CDC at 781-225-6128.

If you have a question and are not sure where to find the answer, I encourage you to contact the Straight Talk line at 781-225-1380 or by email at Hanscom.straightalk@us.af.mil.